That stretch of time between June and September can feel like a lifetime for parents with kids at home on summer break – particularly if overnight camps are not in your budget. While your kids will benefit from a little R&R and the freedom to discover the outdoors, don’t pass up the opportunity to create some learning opportunities, right in your own neighborhood! Consider your local library as a worthwhile resource! It’s one of the few places that provides just as many advantages to kids as adults and can even offer a brief reprieve from the near-constant stress of parenting.
Formerly known as the quiet place where people check out books, the role of libraries has expanded greatly since the tech revolution. Families with kids of all ages, even teenagers, can enjoy the free programming and everything else their communities are offering in a friendly, air-conditioned environment. Check out a few other reasons to go:
Find Out About Free Kids Programming
When is the last time you checked out the activities and events offered at your local library? Even avid readers may be surprised by what they find. From craft circles, puppet activities and story times for smaller kids, to various educational and creative events for teens, it may even be worth it to visit the nearest city to see what they have to offer. For instance, the free activities at Madison Public Library are pretty much limitless this summer. On a recent Thursday afternoon, they offered:
- Middle school book club
- Writing assistance for your budding novelist or your teen’s college essay
- Hands-on art projects for tweens and teens
- Teen writing club
- Drop-in creative event for families
Join other kids and families for ongoing programming like We Read. These types of public events can also be opportunities for parents to connect with one another (and take a breather from the constant cycle of child care).
Children Get Free Access to Technology and Equipment
One of the biggest draws of libraries is their free access to computers and other tech equipment. Even if you have laptops at home, connectivity isn’t always consistent in every neighborhood. What’s more, the constant need to power all your devices can add significantly to your electricity bills. Why not let the library take care of all that for you? Whether for video streaming, reading, gaming or just chatting online, there will be something for every type of child. Most libraries offer offers Mac and PC workstations with the latest design and multimedia production software. Desktop computers equipped with internet access and basic Microsoft software, as well as special access to select learning resources only available at the library can become wonderful learning experiences for both you and your child.
Financial Education for Kids is life-long Learning
Why not combine reading and math lessons over the summer months and make learning fun and rewarding! At Community Financial Service Centers throughout the country, we believe financial lessons are vital to a child’s educational development, and it’s really never too soon to start teaching your children about the basics of saving and spending. A librarian can help you find a book about financial literacy at your kid’s reading level. Studies show that getting even a basic financial education early on is tied to success later in life. Many books exist on budgeting methods positioned for kids of all ages. Check out some great suggestions here: https://www.parents.com/fun/entertainment/books/best-books-to-teach-kids-about-money/
Turning the Learning into Real Life Lessons
The concepts of earning and learning to budget and/or save is one of the best real life lessons a parent can provide to their kids. And it’s never too early to learn these lessons. Help your kids be responsible for household chores – after all, it’s summer and you need a break, too! Establish chores that are appropriate for your child’s age, create a chart with the chores, goals and timeframes on completing them, and allowance amounts per chore. Stick to it and give your kids the opportunity to work and earn and use their earnings to save or spend on something special. When kids earn their own money, the rewards are more meaningful to them, and the lesson can last a lifetime! Your neighborhood CFSC (Community Financial Service Center) can help by providing simple financial services to residents and families that can ultimately help teach your kids about basic budgeting and other money-related lessons as you cash checks, pay bills, load and unload debit cards, and take care of countless other financial needs. Our website provides user-friendly advice on such lessons as:
- Helping your teen create and manage their own budget
- Discussing family money matters
- Teaching your kids to be financially disciplined
- Creating savings habits at an early age
While you’re at it, consider loading some cash, perhaps their allowance, on a prepaid debit card as part of your teen’s budgeting lesson. You control the amount, and kids don’t have to carry cash around. They only spend what they have, unlike with a credit card. Or they can save and watch their money grow to spend on something special.
At CFSC, we understand the value of childhood education, even in summer, and especially when it comes to finances. To set up a prepaid debit card or take advantage of our many financial services, find the nearest CFSC location to you and stop on by.